In Magento EE It would seem that no matter what configuration changes I make to app/etc/local.xml, the default file cache continues to be used (which is evidenced by var/cache/ always filling).


  • Memcached is used as fast_backend.
  • Database is used as slow_backend.
  • File cache is not used at all (i.e. var/cache/ should always be empty).

Actual Output

  • Memcached is used as fast_backend.
  • Database is not used at all.
  • File cache is being used.

Testing Procedure

  1. Make configuration change to app/etc/local.xml.
  2. Restart Memcached and Apache (just for good measure and it's on my local dev box so I may as well).
  3. Clear the file cache (rm -rf var/cache/*).
  4. Refresh the home page.
  5. Check the contents of the file cache (ls var/cache).
  6. Become saddened and return to #1 with a different config change.

The Config

The contents of my app/etc/local.xml is as follows:

                    <initStatements><![CDATA[SET NAMES utf8]]></initStatements>
  • 1
    As an aside, required reading: Magento / Zend Framework's TwoLevels Cache Backend Mess
    – benmarks
    Apr 7, 2015 at 19:07
  • I never did find a solution to this problem; however, as I have since worked on additional Magento projects under the employ of a different company and have used configurations similar to those described here, I am inclined to believe that it was an issue with one of: 1. That installation of Magento (bad modifications/modules/etc) 2. The company's provisioning scripts for their servers being poorly adapted from Drupal and some things were missed 3. Act of God/Nature 4. (most likely) It's Magento Regardless, @fantasticrice gave a great answer that should help Googlers, so he gets the prize!
    – Robr3rd
    Nov 4, 2015 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


I think that is not the right format for the cache nodes. My understanding is that all the cache settings should be nested inside the <cache> node. So to use two-level cache with memcached + database it would be something like this:


Bear in mind that <full_page_cache> can be configured exactly the same way and can use different settings if you wish. They are just two separate cache instances.

Just as a side note, I would highly recommend using Redis instead. It supports tags, so it can be used as a single level cache and it will perform much better than two-level memcached + database.

  • 3
    I second the advocacy for Redis. The db slow backend causes more harm than it does help.
    – philwinkle
    Apr 7, 2015 at 18:01
  • I have also tried that configuration (it's actually what I started with -- the one I posted was suggested as an alternative since the above wasn't working). Would the <full_page_cache> possibly be filling var/cache? It's my understanding that it instead uses var/full_page_cache. I have also tried using the same <cache>...</cache> (your style) for <full_page_cache> and in enterprise.xml to no avail. As far as Redis goes, unfortunately using the DB backend is the requirement.
    – Robr3rd
    Apr 7, 2015 at 21:32
  • I just noticed that you have <cache>...<servers>...<server1>...</server1>. Is the 1 in server1 important?
    – Robr3rd
    Apr 7, 2015 at 21:33
  • @RobertRobinson - nope, not important at all except as a way to define multiple nodes under <servers>. You could use foo, bar, baz just as easily as server1, server2, server3. You are correct that full_page_cache instance gets its own subdirectory under var if it is using files. Apr 7, 2015 at 21:41
  • @RobertRobinson - you might be interested in this extension to see the status of Magento’s config. Apr 7, 2015 at 22:06

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